Romantic in Revolt

I want to tell you about something kind of exciting that I have been working on for what feels like a few weeks, but has probably been more like 2 years now [and it is actually not photography related]...

First Came the Dreamcatchers

A couple of years ago, my beautiful, talented, wonderful friend Brittany [owner of Tapestry Massage & Yoga in Radford, Virginia] taught me how to make dreamcatchers.  I quickly became addicted to creating art with my hands, I was churning out so many dreamcatchers simply to treat my neurosis that I started selling them at Green Heron Arts Center because I ran out of room.  I hijacked the phrase “Romantic in Revolt” that I had seen floating around on a neon sign that read “Childlike in Wonder, Romantic in Revolt” because it spoke to my soul and that became the name that started selling my artwork under.

Weaving My Worries Away

I started to feel really drawn to weaving and I had been fortunate enough to meet Kate Albee in her short time living in Blacksburg who is also a weaver.  She helped me push through some mental barriers and man up enough to purchase my first loom and go for it.  I learned to weave in 7th grade art class.  My only finished weaving from that class was a cartoon turtle that I drew myself made in neon colors, being the extremely harsh critic of my own artwork that I am, I threw it away thinking I would never return to the loom.  Here I am almost 20 years later teaching myself new techniques as I soumak my ways into the wee hours of the morning on a Melissa & Doug children’s loom.  The artistic process of weaving is so much more therapeutic for me than creating dreamcatchers, I always hit a point where I HATE the way my work looks, but I have to push through because I only have one loom – I swear this process is improving my problem solving skills and working through my doubts and insecurities.  Again I found myself in this predicament that I’m creating a mountain of artwork and squirreling it away in a room that I had once intended to be my photography studio [never say never, if I can sell my artwork maybe I can still end up turning it into a studio].

Etsy Anxiety and Crippling Self Doubt

The time had come to start selling my work online instead of in one retail location where my “ideal client” may or may not ever see them.  With a huge push from yet another amazing talented artist friend of mine, Stephanie of Celestial Surf Studio, I made a plan.  First came the dedicated Romantic in Revolt Instagram account [holy shit I hardly keep up with the photography one!] and I set the date that I would open my Etsy shop.  To take it one step further and make sure I get some eyeballs on my work and give myself accountability, I decided I would host a giveaway [see below] that I set to automatically publish the day the shop opened so if I didn’t follow through I would look like a complete jackass so here I am reluctantly following through.  Etsy has always been a mental block for me, I have dipped my toe in the Etsy waters a few different times and never sold a single item.  So I’m facing my fear of Etsy and I’m putting my weaving out for everyone to see and judge – it somehow feels more personal and like I am more exposed than sharing my photography.  Overwhelming anxiety.  With a MAJOR knot in my stomach I hit publish on 24 pieces of my handmade artwork on the Romantic in Revolt Etsy Shop this morning and sent an email blast out to the handful of people who asked to be notified when I made the leap.


To celebrate me finally gathering up my courage to give Etsy another try, I am hosting a giveaway!  The winner will get to choose a medium sized woven tapestry out of the Romantic in Revolt Etsy shop.

Below are easy ways that you can help me get the word out about my shop and to thank you for your help, each item will provide you an entry into the giveaway AND almost each of the entries can be completed once per day from now until the timer runs out on April 8.  Thank you for joining on my journey of branching out into various other mediums of art!

Mallary + Steven's Blacksburg Engagement Session

It is always a wonderful surprise when you get to meet amazing new clients who were referred by former clients who also just happen to be wonderful.  Mallary and Steven found me after I photographed their friends’ Brandon and Jaki’s Virginia Tech Proposal.  It ended up being super gloomy the day of Mallary and Steven’s engagement session, but thankfully the rain held out for us and the clouds made the greenery look really vibrant.  They brought along their sweet little pit bull pupper Roxy who decided to snack on Queen Anne’s Lace at the end of their photo session.  Keep your eyes peeled because I was fortunate enough to get to travel down to Asheville, North Carolina in January to photograph their super intimate wedding so photos of that will be coming soon.

Sonny + Katie's Pittsburgh Wedding at Mayernik Center at Avonworth Park

Katie and Sonny’s wedding set a new record for me for the farthest I’ve traveled for photos!  [Though I look forward to hopefully breaking this record again over and over – anyone getting married in Portland, Seattle, Miami, Hawaii, or California and want to take me with you?]  It was so exciting to take a road trip up to Katie’s hometown, Pittsburgh, it was my first time in Pennsylvania.  I had no idea what to expect because I don’t go to a lot of cities so I was completely blown away driving around through what looked like a rural area, all of a sudden I went through a tunnel and on the other side was a GORGOUES city with all these cool bridges, I fell in love immediately.  Anyways, on to the important details about the wedding [I’ll post some other photos from the trip soon too]!

Sonny and Katie met at Hokie House in Blacksburg, Virginia through mutual friends when they were students at Virginia Tech.  They bonded over their shared love of sports.  In January of 2015 they came back to Blacksburg to celebrate their anniversary.  Despite a snow storm, they came out to the Virginia Tech campus where Sonny surprised Katie under Torgersen Bridge by getting down on one knee and proposing.

We started out the morning at the adorable Studio Raw in Pittsburgh [when you first walk in there is a row of mannequin butts so I knew it was my type of place] where Katie was having her hair done and hanging out with her mother.   Later on we moved to the Mayernik Center at Avonworth Park where the wedding would be taking place to finish preparing for the ceremony.  It was SWELTERING hot outside and humid with the threat of a storm looming that fortunately turned out to only be a sprinkle so their outside ceremony was only delayed by a few minutes.  Katie wore her grandmother’s pearl necklace and carried a bouquet of sunflowers as she made her way down the aisle to marry Sonny.  At the reception, Sonny’s brother and sister surprised the newlyweds by performing a song.  Afterwards was the biggest dance party that I have seen at a wedding reception, and tons of music from the 90s.

If these beautiful people look the familiar, it is because I also photographed their proposal and their Virginia Tech engagement photos!

Pittsburgh Wedding Vendors:
Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer
Venue: The Mayernik Center at Avonworth Park
Hair: Studio Raw
Wedding Gown: David’s Bridal
Officiant: Mark DeNuzzio – A Simple Vow, Ambridge, PA
Cake Baker: Oakmont Bakery, Oakmont, PA
Caterer: Remo’s Catering, Pittsburgh, PA
Jeweler: Kay Jewelers
DJ: Premium Soundz, Pittsburgh, PA
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Banana Republic and The Tie Bar

Christiansburg Baby Photographer | Baby L’s 6 Month Photos

Around 6 months is my favorite baby age, they have so much personality, but most of them cannot crawl that well yet to escape my camera!  Baby L was so sweet for her photo session, she had the CUTEST outfits; I wish that pink onesie came in my size.  We had tons of fun rolling around on the ground in the shade, eating rose petals, and gazing in wonder at the bubbles floating by.

Erin + Eric’s Chateau Morrisette Wedding

Chateau Morrisette Winery Wedding Photos

Erin and Eric met in 2011 while they were on a camping trip.  Eric proposed on Erin’s birthday while she was sneaking another piece of birthday cake [a girl after my own heart].  Their wedding took place at Chateau Morrisette Winery with an outdoor ceremony followed by an indoor reception in the Morrisette Room.  Erin wore her grandmother’s ring and her grandmother’s blue barrette for her walk down the aisle.  She carried a gorgeous pink, orange, white, and green bouquet prepared by Stonecrop Farm with poppies, dahlias, zinnias, and more.  Their reception had games, an Elvis impersonator that serenaded each table, and ended with a sparkler exit.

Chateau Morrisette Wedding Vendors
Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer
Wedding Venue, Catering, and Wedding Planning: Chateau Morrisette
Wedding Dress: Sincerity from Sasha Babettes Gowns in Bridgeville, PA
Florist: Stonecrop Farm, Newport, VA
Officiant: Kanta Bosniak
Cake Baker: Copper Hill Cakes
Jewelry: Family Heirloom; Reeds
Bridesmaid Dresses: Sasha Babettes Gowns in Bridgeville, PA
Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Vera Wang from Men’s Warehouse

Blacksburg, Virginia Baby Photographer

I was so excited when my longtime friend Danielle came into town with her newest little bundle of joy.  He is such a handsome little guy!  The weather was very nice so we were able to find a nice shady spot to take photos outside instead of being stuck in the house.  I love his little tie dye onesie, we used to have one very similar when my son was a baby.  We foraged some Magnolia leaves, Queen Anne’s Lace, ferns, and other wildflowers for a little extra flair.

Blacksburg Wedding Photographer | Brooke + Joe's Backyard Wedding

Brooke and Joe held an intimate country rustic themed wedding ceremony in their back yard.  It was filled with giant, beautiful sunflowers and equally brilliant smiles despite the downpour that happened during the reception [which was quite a hit with their young daughter].  A little ways down the road from their wedding is a big red barn and even more sunflowers, the owners were kind enough to let us use the property as a gorgeous backdrop for their photos.

Joe proposed to Brooke by making a list of stops that included the place where they first met, first date, first kiss, and the hospital where their daughter was born.  He had Brooke’s friend drive her to around to each location and at every stop there was a friend or family member with a rose and a card for her.  The last stop was the duck pond where all of her friends and family were waiting to watch the proposal!

Wedding Vendors
Blacksburg, Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer
Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal
Flowers: Sunflowers which were grown by the groom’s mother
Officiant: Bill Brown
Hair: Sharmelle at Shear Mellagance Salon in Radford
Wedding Cake: Our Daily Bread
Cupcakes: BubbleCake
Wedding Rings: Zales

Vendor Feature: Stonecrop Farm, Florist in Newport, Virginia

I first fell in love with Stonecrop Farm when I saw them at the Blacksburg Farmers Market.  Like the true creeper that I am, I secretly took photos of the beautiful organic flowers they grew in my outings to the market [those are the ones at the tippy top of this post].  Finally we ended up actually working some weddings together - Jordan and Justin’s Beliveau Estate Winery Wedding, Valerie + Brian's Smithfield Plantation Wedding, Ina + Alfred's Virginia Tech Wedding at Hahn Horticulture Garden, and I believe there might be a couple more that I haven’t yet blogged.  I loved working with Gwynn so much, she is so laid back, sweet, and easy to talk to so I asked if I could come by and visit Stonecrop Farm in person to take some photos and she obliged and was kind enough to also answer some questions for me that might help you in your wedding planning journey:


Please tell me about yourself and Stonecrop Farm?

Bert and I met this fabulous guy in 1997 that was about to quit his job and start a farm.  This was a crazy notion… that you could just “become” a farmer at age 30 especially if you didn’t grow up on a farm.  Shortly after that we moved so that I could go to graduate school and Bert got his first job on a farm.  Another farm job followed that one and the next.  After several moves he finally decided he knew enough to run his own show.  We moved to his parents land here in Giles County and I became his intern.  That was 2003.


When and how did you get started in the flower business?

That first farm job that Bert landed was on a flower farm and the knowledge and interest stayed with him.  We grew flowers alongside the vegetables to bring more beauty and beneficial insect.  Then we started making and selling bouquets.  The flower part of the business has just kept growing as demand continues to increase the competition in the vegetable business becomes more threatening.


What is your favorite part of floral design for weddings?

I love a new challenge.  This past July we needed to create something for the stone hearth at Chateau Morrisette and — based on a Pinterest photo — we invented the flower waterfall.  I love being given free reign and a large color palette.  I also love getting to know my clients and then creating something that feels like it’s a great match for the bride.  Yesterday’s wedding creations were for a chef and pastry chef.  This very food oriented wedding inspired Bert to add peppers to the arrangement for the arbor.  And we snuggled asparagus spears into the bridal bouquets. 


What are some of your favorite flowers?

There’s something so exciting in every new season.  I love ranunculus and tulips in the spring and dahlias in the summer and fall.  This year delphinium belladonna bellamossa won our hearts.  The color is absolutely stunning and it still flowered even though it was drowning in the weeds.  Then there are sweet little additions like scabiosa, gomphrena, and nigella that really set our flowers apart from a florist arrangement


Do you have any favorite trends for wedding flowers?

I love the loose garden style that’s gaining interest. 


How would someone go about booking you for their wedding?

A phone call or email will start the process.  We sit down with clients and start the conversation, learning about their celebration and the styles that catch their attention.  We’re getting a lot of requests for 2017 weddings already, which is wonderful, but really tricky to fit in because we still have plenty more weddings for the 2016 calendar year.

[Why yes, this blog post should have happened about 6 months ago!  I’m caught red handed at letting the blogging slide again]


Do you have any tips or advice for couples who are currently in the wedding planning process?

If you’re not hiring a coordinator, find someone that is willing to help you out that can be your flower point person.   You don’t want to hire us to come early and install your pieces and hand off your bouquets AND stay until grandma arrives to hand her that wrist corsage.  Get someone that knows your friends and family to take charge of a few last minute flower responsibilities.


Anything else you’d like to add?

Pinterest has been great for putting lots of great ideas out there for brides to consider as their designing their celebration.  Remember that flowers like — and need — to be in water.  Those blossoms scattered loosely here and there look wonderful for a twenty minute photo shoot.  Not an afternoon in the sun and a long evening of celebration. 


Thank you Gwynn and Bert for your hospitality and for taking the time to answer my questions!  Here’s where you can find more of Stonecrop Farm: Website, Facebook, and Instagram and you can go visit them in person at the Blacksburg Farmers Market!

Blacksburg Maternity Portrait Photographer | Charmaine + Bryan

Charmaine is one of the most beautiful, talented, and sweetest people I have ever met.  She is the owner of CharMarie Salon in Christiansburg [check out the vendor feature I did shortly after her shop opened a couple of years ago] and one of my favorite beauty gurus of all time.  I discovered her through Twitter years ago and we were able to team up for some glamour photos [she did hair and makeup for Taylor’s glamour portraits and Ladonna’s glamour portraits], a boudoir session, and a “garden party” inspired styled shoot.  It is always an honor to work creative girlboss masterminds like her.

When Charmaine announced that she and her super sweet and supportive husband Bryan were going to have a little one I was so excited, I insisted on taking some maternity photos for her.  Despite the fact that she herself is a total creative genius, she was kind enough to let me take the lead and do the planning for her photo session.  I made her a couple of flower crowns – one of purple, blue, and green lacecap hydrangeas and one of pink and green spray roses and we ventured up to Mountain Lake in Pembroke, Virginia where Dirty Dancing was filmed.  A couple weeks before the shoot I had spotted the perfect little thicket of ferns for this radiant goddess.  Thank you Charmaine for trusting my vision and allowing me to commemorate this extra special time in you and Bryan’s lives!

Book Review | Pop Manga Coloring Book: A Surreal Journey Through a Cute, Curious, Bizarre, and Beautiful World

I am a huge fan of Camilla d’Errico, she is one of my favorite pop surrealism artists so when I heard that she was coming out with an adult coloring book, and I HAD to have it.  I tend to be intimidated by coloring books because well I hate rules and I never want to color things the “right” color.  Since d’Errico herself uses such wild variations in colors in her artwork, I didn’t have that feeling that I was going to “mess it up” by coloring someone’s skin purple or coloring animals with the whole spectrum of the rainbow.  When the original artist is thinking completely out of the box, it feels like an invitation to go with the flow.

The artwork is incredible, the biggest challenge I have had is fighting my boyfriend and son off because they are dying to color in it too even though they have their own coloring books to work on - they’re just not as fun as Camilla’s.  The pages are nice and thick, but since they are printed with images facing each other I would recommend using color pencils or watercolor pencils to keep the color from transferring onto the next page.  I highly recommend this coloring book, and that you follow Camilla d’Errico on Facebook and Instagram for more of her incredible imagery [and to see her use of colors as long as it wouldn’t make you feel too inclined to follow the rules].

P.S. Please do not judge my coloring skills or lack thereof in the images above. 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.